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Miami Criminal Defense Blog

What triggers a Medicare or Medicaid fraud investigation?

The Office of the Inspector General is serious about prosecuting instances of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Not only is a national concern that affects millions of Americans, it's also a political "hot button" issue. Nobody wants to look soft on the issue -- so prosecutors can be very aggressive.

If you're a physician or medical billing specialist, it's important to understand that even unintentional mistakes can trigger a Medicare or Medicaid fraud investigation. What are the most common billing issues that will start that particular ball rolling?

Man found with almost 350 pounds of cannabis in his house

Marijuana laws are changing quickly all around The United States. The majority of states, including Florida, have legalized cannabis for medical use, and a few have taken the step to legalization for recreational use. While many people in our state use cannabis for medical purposes, it is highly regulated. Marijuana may only be cultivated and sold by licensed outlets.

Acting outside of the law and cultivating marijuana comes with extremely heavy punishments, including time in prison, heavy fines and a badly damaged reputation. That is what a Brooksville man is now facing in the wake of being caught with nearly 350 pounds of marijuana in his home.

Post office defrauded of $16 million in stamps

A five-year scam robbed the United States Postal Service (USPS) of around $16 million in free deliveries. It happened through forgery combined with a little modern technology.

Three men, including one from Florida, operated a company that provided two large clients with bulk mailing services. They used a combination of shell companies and bank accounts to collect payments that were allegedly for postage -- but none of the money actually went to the post office itself.

Are you eligible for drug court in Florida?

Many drug crimes have their roots in addiction -- which is something that Florida's courts have finally begun to recognize through a program known as "drug court." When completed successfully, drug court can help defendants avoid jail time and possibly even a felony record.

However, before you decide that drug court is your best bet, there are a few things you should know.

Beware the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if you work in technology

Working in the tech industry these days is incredibly exciting -- but it's also fraught with dangers due to outmoded legislation and overeager prosecutors who can, quite literally, create a crime out of virtually nothing.

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, is a cybersecurity bill that the federal government designed way back in the early days of internet technology, when "hackers" was a term everyone was using and it created a lot of fear in the hearts and minds of everyday Americans. Unfortunately, that was way back in 1986 -- and both technology and the internet have evolved in incredible ways.

What are your privacy rights when facing criminal charges?

For many people who have been charged with drug possession of other criminal charges, one of the first questions involves their privacy rights. What if the police found incriminating evidence in a way that seemed unfair? Are the police allowed to do anything they want when it comes to searching your home or car?

The short answer is: no. There are strict rules regulating what the police are allowed to do when it comes to searching your home and your car. It is important to know these limits to protect your rights and your future.

What you should know about constructive possession of drugs

Imagine this: You ask your buddy for a ride to work and the police pull him over for speeding. The officer decides that your friend looks stoned, which eventually leads to a search of the vehicle.

The next thing you know, you're in handcuffs right beside your friend because marijuana was found under the passenger seat you were sitting in. It doesn't matter that you insist the drugs aren't yours. Nor does it matter that the drugs were found somewhere other than on your body. As far as the police are concerned, you and your buddy are equally as guilty of the possession of illegal drugs.

The police took my stuff. What can I do?

If you encounter the police, they will sometimes take your property: your car, your money or other belongings. This can even happen to people who haven’t done anything wrong. When the police take your property, it’s called “asset seizure,” and it happens quite often. Here’s what you need to know.

Could being a witness in a federal investigation lead to jail?

You can't really look at the news these days without reading about a federal investigation into something. One thing you may quickly notice is that someone who is initially described as "just a witness" will suddenly end up facing charges along with the original subject of the investigation.

How does that happen? Frankly, federal investigations are legal danger zones if you aren't exceedingly savvy about the law. Even if you really believe that you've done nothing wrong, there is no guarantee that federal investigators will agree. You can go from being a witness in an investigation to the target of one very quickly.

Steering clear of pyramid schemes

A lot of people are finding success in the newfound "gig" economy in the nation. Some use side jobs to supplement their regular income, while others find whole new careers.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the whole gig economy is making it easier than ever for pyramid schemes to take hold -- and you can end up getting pulled into illegal businesses far too easily if you don't know how to spot one.

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